I was really looking forward to this movie. Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of monsters were two of the dumbest and most entertaining movies of their respective years, and I was ready for Godzilla Vs Kong to follow in those footsteps. It is a really dumb and very fun movie, but compared to the other two it lacks what set those two apart from previous attempts; it feels like Godzilla Vs Kong happened because it made sense (given both movies leading up to it were successful), not because a group of hard-working and talented people wanted to see a radioactive lizard hash it out with a gigantic ape. Not to say that what we got was a cashgrab that wasn’t worthy, but it lacked those moments, characters, or that X-factor that you feel when you see something come out of pure excitement and reverence for the source material; there is still so much to like and so many moments that do show genuine interest, care, and love for the Monsterverse, but it’s a shame that two great blockbusters were leading up to a decent one.
Godzilla Vs Kong is directed by Adam Wingard and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, and Brian Tyree Henry, amongst others. The premise is that Godzilla will fight King Kong; there are characters and a story, but those are second to the main attraction. First off, I just want to say how sad I am to have not been given the chance to experience this in theaters; watching this movie on my 4-year-old TV, I cannot overstate how impressive this movie looks and can only imagine the experience in a 4K, Dolby Atmos theater. Both monsters look fantastic, but Kong in particular is given some effective emotive expressions that actually felt “real”. Given the fidelity and visual splendor of the monsters, the movie also dazzles with bright colors, impressive CGI set-pieces, and a few great action scenes that emphasize the titular fight in impressive ways. If you’re like me, then this is about as much as you would like to read; Godzilla Vs Kong looks great and it has good action scenes, that is all I need to know.
However, when compared to the previous two movies it lacks something major; just like both movies before, the characters are paper-thin, the story is uninteresting, and we are all here to see the monsters so the humans don’t have the time or the depth to resonate. But, both Skull Island and King of Monsters, do have ideas that make up for the absence of a good narrative. Skull Island has John C. Reilly eating up every, single scene he is in, making everything so much more entertaining; Sam Jackson giving an over-the-top villain portrayal that instantly makes you hate him and you love every second of him. King of Monsters has a very basic undertone that relates to dealing with grief, some nice moments of comedy, and is finely-paced so that the action is always close by so that the characters never take up too much screen time. Godzilla Vs Kong doesn’t have any of that; there are some good bits of comedy, but there is no John C. Reilly or a non-stop action pace. In fact, because two sides of the same fight need to be set-up, there is too much time spent with two separate groups of uninteresting characters, before an epic fight occurs, and then back to following these uninteresting characters. This pacing made the middle of the movie particularly slow or uneventful, compared to the excellent finish it serves up.
That’s not to say that the impressive visuals, fights, and the great moments it has are not enough; Godzilla Vs Kong is a good blockbuster with the right amount of dumb and visual spectacle for any blockbuster fan to enjoy. However, that is what makes Skull Island and King of Monsters so great; they are dumb fun with impressive visuals and great action, but they also added those extra touches. Godzilla Vs Kong is the most impressive, visually, out of the three and that ending set-piece is surely in the running for the best in the series, but overall, there were moments of boredom, moments where the stakes and the characters felt stale. It’s a shame, because I feel like if I had seen this in the theater, I would be a lot more forgiving of it, despite being very impressed with the audiovisual qualities it has, but sadly I did not see it in the theater.
All in all, I enjoyed Godzilla Vs Kong, but spending the last two nights watching two great blockbusters with their own extra touches and ideas on what makes a great action-blockbuster, to lead to a good blockbuster that has a lot of good stuff and a lot of decisions I disliked was not the result I wanted or expected.